Emken finishes with no debt, DiFi with big victory

Elizabeth Emken, the unsuccessful Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in last month’s election, announced today that she finished her campaign without any debt.

Emken, of Danville, said her final financial report shows her campaign raised $1,112,077.53, with more than 10,000 donors contributing $100 or less. Final Secretary of State records show Emken receiving 4,713,887 votes, which means her campaign spent less than 24 cents per vote.

“It was my goal to finish the campaign strong and I’m proud of the hard work we did to model the same fiscal accountability that I promised to bring to Washington,” Emken said in a news release. “We maximized the vote with minimal resources, and made the most of our donors’ contributions.”

A Republican slate mailer company had sued her for breach of contract in October, claiming she still owed $65,000 yet had used campaign funds to repay a $200,000 personal loan she made to her campaign in the spring. Her spokesman today said the matter has been “settled to everyone’s satisfaction.”

And here’s the perfect place to say: I goofed.

I wrote a blog post right after the election positing that Emken had outperformed other, past challengers to Feinstein. But in my bleary state that day, I failed to account for the fact that past elections had third-party candidates and – due to our new top-two primary system – this year’s had only Feinstein and Emken.

In fact, Feinstein beat Emken this year by the largest victory margin she has ever had: 25 percentage points. Feinstein had beat Dick Mountjoy in 2006 by 24.4 points; Tom Campbell in 2000 by 19.3 points; Michael Huffington in 1994 by 1.9 points; and John Seymour in 1992 by 16.3 points.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    A few more wonderful campaigns like Ms Emken’s and the Golden State GOP will join the Whigs in history’s trash can.

  • rew

    I think she Emken should run for some other office, start a little lower. She was a good candidate, one of the better Republican candidates running for the Senate this election cycle. The folks that finance Republican candidates across the US declined to back her – they considered winning a Senate seat in California impossible. Despite this Emken ran a respectable campaign, she came out of nowhere to win the nomination – Danville is not exactly a strong base for statewide run. I think she should stay in politics and maybe run for something else.

  • Sacramento DataWatcher

    Thank you for that clarification on the final U.S. Senate election results: the new top-two system will make it harder to do comparisons to previous elections!

  • James B.

    Dianne Feinstein’s win looks very impressive on the surface, but it’s underwhelming on further analysis. She won under 50% of the vote in the June election. She won just 10,000 more votes than Obama did in November (just one-tenth of one percent – 0.1% – more). Compare that to Barbara Boxer, who won 200,000 more votes than John Kerry in 2004. Yes, Dianne Feinstein is re-elected, but she’s not really respected and certainly is not beloved across California. She won big because she’s an incumbent with near universal name recognition and it’s very difficult for any challenger to mount an attack on her. She’s arrogant; her stinking rich husband is arrogant; her staff is arrogant. If California were a smaller state like Oregon, that arrogance would’ve caught up with her by now because a critical mass of citizens would have experienced that arrogance and kicked her out.